From Kyushu-style tonkotsu made with long-simmered pork bone broth, to simple soy sauce based soup, we’ve seen a spate of ramen joints open in London.
Here’s a pick of where to grab a steaming bowl of thin wheat noodles in broth. Do you agree with the choices?
3 Central St Giles Piazza, WC2 8AG
The speciality here is tonkotsu with pork loin slices, crunchy kikurage (cloud ear mushroom) and thin, own-made noodles (in the dish called Shiromaru Hakata Classic). Vegetarians are not left out at Ippudo: there’s a seaweed and mushroom broth-based version that’s topped with fried tofu. Sadly, this is another no-bookings restaurant, and despite running to 80 covers, queues have been enormous so far.
64 St Giles High St, WC2H 8LE
Founded in Japan in 2009, this award-winning tonkotsu specialist arrived in London in September 2014. Small, brightly lit and minimal, it is not the place for a leisurely meal. And it has a serious downside: lengthy mealtime queues outside its doors. But this is exceptional ramen, using smooth, rich, seriously savoury tonkotsu broth – one of the best we’ve tried in London.
30-31 Peter Street, W1F 0AT
The flavours are bold; the dining room is tightly packed; the staff are friendly. Bone Daddies is a gusty New York-style ramen bar with blaring rock music and a range of seriously rich ramen dishes.
32 Great Windmill Street, W1D 7LR
In Tokyo there’s a whole, maze-like restaurant devoted to ninjas with stealthy staff dressed the part. Now London also has its own ninja-inspired venue, named after the fictional Edo period warrior Sarutobi Sasuke. But you won’t find any trick doors or throwing stars at this Soho ramen bar. As for the ramen, our miso version was hearty enough to fuel any covert mission.
5-6 Plender St, NW1 0JT
There are just a handful of varieties on offer at Seto, like soya sauce (shoyu), miso and Korean pickled cabbage (kimchi). All are made with an earthy chicken and pork bone broth and filled with pleasingly chewy noodles. Another ramen shop staple, pork gyoza dumplings, make a good choice too with crisp bottoms and bouncy wrappers.
9 Regent Street, SW1Y 4LR
Run by the same people as the Japan Centre across the road, Shoryu mix authentic Japanese flavours with a little bit of innovation. Specialising in tonkotsu ramen, made with a long-simmered pork bone broth, the bowls are filled with bouncy noodles and include a choice of unusual toppings like wasabi stalks and spicy-pickled mustard leaves. There’s a second branch in Soho.
63 Dean Street, W1D 4QG
Another champion of the long-simmered pork bone broth variety of noodles in soup stock, Tonkotsu serve theirs topped with slices of tender pork, beansprouts and half a marinated soft-boiled egg. They also offer a veggie noodle soup here – something you don’t see so often at ramen joints. There’s a second branch in Haggerston.